From what I’ve seen, many people will indulge in short term gratification rather than long term fulfillment.  I believe this can be incredibly comforting for an outmatched individual, for that individual can make up for a good degree of disadvantage by exercising discipline.

They can be that rare person who is willing to enact one of the oldest tales in human history, the tale where the protagonist does his/her best to make the proper sacrifices, and maybe not guarantee victory, but shout with every atom in his/her being that (s)he is ready to receive it.


12 thoughts on “Musings

    • Not to be contrarian, (and I don’t think you were trying to imply that we should imitate Buddha), but I think that we have to find our own gesture but follow the same principles. Buddha’s mudra referenced interconnectedness without being drawn into the separation-dependent dualistic mindset that would have been required by a verbal answer. I actually address this in Echo 4. 🙂

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      • (This is all my opinion and pretty long-winded, so apologies in advance). I believe the gesture is actually meaningless, but the fact that Buddha didn’t directly address Mara is incredibly significant (not just for the third challenge, but for the first and second as well. His answer is in his conduct; I believe this is key). Buddha achieves enlightenment, which is in this context, I think, a state of pure detachment from all phenomena. So he physically demonstrates this with Mara’s daughters. Then he transforms the mortal threats into symbols of purity (which could be construed as detachment) and detachment—the lotus petal. Then, instead of answering Mara directly, he touches the ground, which, according to the scholars, also symbolizes interconnectedness. Now if he had answered verbally, he would have had to adopt a separation-dependent viewpoint: the questioner and the answerer, which gives rise to the notion of self, which gives rise to attachment, which is antithetical to the enlightened perspective. I believe that touching the earth allowed him to avoid this dilemma, and at the same time allowed him to imply that separation is an illusion, as the gesture references interconnectedness. Now if one were to simply touch the earth as Buddha had, I believe the gesture would have no meaning without the understanding beneath it. In fact, I believe that one would be at danger of falling prey to the same trap that Mara poses—attachment—by being attached to Buddha. If we were to run a thought experiment, I would say that everyone confronted with Mara must express their detachment in their own, authentic way (which probably in some cases would be the same way Buddha did it), or risk being attached to Siddhartha’s example. All just my opinion, but long story short: I believe many of us would have to achieve the same detachment, but express it in a different way. 🙂


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